This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the November 2015 issue,
which is available here.
Wood Fiberglass Drumset
The innovative hybrid shell that defined the company forty-plus years ago
is back…and better than ever.
While American companies like Ludwig, Slingerland, and Gretsch established their now-classic drum sounds in the late ’60s with all-wood makeups (3-ply maple/poplar or mahogany/poplar for Ludwig and Slingerland, 6-ply maple/gum for Gretsch), something a bit more adventurous was taking place across the Pacific Ocean at the Pearl factory.
In a quest for a new sound, Pearl utilized the luan mahogany shells that had been a staple for the company and its OEM brands since the 1940s and tried applying a thin layer of fiberglass to the interior. (The company also made all-fiberglass drums.) The result was a unique tonal combination that retained the warm, thumpy tone of luan coupled with the crisp attack and strong projection associated with fiberglass.
This year, Pearl revived the Wood Fiberglass series, with notable upgrades. Like the originals, the shells are 7-ply with a thin fiberglass inner ply. They have been improved, however, with the use of denser kapur in place of the original luan mahogany. Kapur is known to produce warm, full-bodied tones with an emphasis on lower frequencies.
The shells are 7.5 mm thick, and the inner layer of fiberglass is applied by hand to ensure consistency from drum to drum. The toms have sharp 45-degree bearing edges, and the bass drum edges are fully rounded. The Wood Fiberglass series is available in four lacquer finishes (piano black, antique gold, satin cocoa burst, and platinum mist), and in three traditionally sized configurations. The FW-903XP includes 8×12 and 14×14 toms and a 14×20 bass drum; the FW-923XP includes 9×13 and 16×16 toms and a 14×22 bass drum; and the FW-943XP includes 9×13 and 16×16 toms and a 14×24 bass drum. We received the FW-923XP setup featuring a 22″ bass drum, in platinum mist finish.
Check out a video demo below.
For the complete review, check out the November 2015 issue, which is available here.